The Winterreise Project
The Egyptian Theatre
700 W Main Street
Boise, ID 83702
Friday, February 1, 2013 • 7:30pm
Sunday, February 3, 2013 • 2:30pm
to purchase ticket to The Winterreise Project.
Free previews for all ticket holders, led by Executive Director Mark Junkert, will precede all performances of this opera one hour before curtain; these previews will be given at The Egyptian Theatre. No registration is required.
Program Notes by Jason Detwiler
Poetry can be challenging to decipher, its very nature often enigmatic. Then there’s the poetic story of Winterreise, where a young musician, after discovering his lover’s faithlessness, decides to run into the arms of winter’s dark night. Throughout an unplanned and harried journey into its unmerciful folds, his Winter’s Journey drags him between despair, life and hopeful love in the moving labyrinth of his own soul. Questions surface as to what is real, imaginary, what is truly being seen, or is this just the delusional mirage of a broken man? Heart trauma is not that simple, it’s usually a mess of all these shattered pieces.
In this emotional and spiritual ‘labyrinth’, the Wanderer’s sight has inversed everything he sees. All that is normally perceived as peaceful, beautiful, or worthy is now restless, pallid and futile. So too, all that the world usually runs from, considers ominous, or dismisses, this restless traveler takes shelter in with welcome embrace.
Colors and perception may be blurred or turned inside out; movement may reflect the ‘film negative’ version of the Wanderer’s mental and emotional landscape. There is the very real torment of daily living, struggling with darkness, and striving for, or in some instances fleeing, the hope of life or love. However, what we see at the end of this journey is not an end, but the small beginning of a man who does not succumb to the Abyss, but reaches out to connect with life again.
2. Die Wetterfahne (The Weather-vane) As he goes he notices the winds blowing the weather-vane around on the house, and they blow him away from there as well. If he had taken notice of that fickle sign when he first came, he would not have expected to find a constant woman within. Indoors, their hearts beat like the vane, but not so loud – what do they care for his suffering, when their daughter will be a wealthy bride?.
3. Gefror’ne Tränen (Frozen Tears) Frozen tears fall from his cheeks as he walks away, but the breast from which they arise is so burning hot with feelings that they should melt the winter ice completely.
4. Erstarrung (Numbness) He looks in vain for her footprints in the snow, where they formerly walked together arm in arm among the flowers and green grass. He wants to kiss the ground and weep on it, until he can dissolve the ice and see where they trod. But the flowers are all dead, and he can take no remembrance of her away from there. His heart is lifeless with her image frozen within; but if it thaws, her beautiful image fades.
5. Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree) He comes to the linden tree, with its pale flowers and heart-shaped leaves, that stands at the gate. In the shade of this tree he has dreamt many beautiful dreams, and in the bark he has carved words of love. It was his favourite place. Now he passes it with his eyes shut, even though it is deepest night, but the branches rustle to him, ‘Come here old comrade, find your rest here’. A gust of wind blows his hat off, and many hours afterwards he remembers the tree, and it seems to say ‘You should have found your rest here.’ It is a tacit invitation to suicide. (In Die Schöne Müllerin by the same author the rejected lover actually drowns himself and finds rest in the friendly brook where he dies.)
6. Wasserflut (Torrent) He weeps copiously and his tears fall in the snow. When the Spring comes the snow will melt and flow into the river, and will carry his tears to the house of his beloved.
7. Auf dem Flusse (On the Stream) The river, usually busy and bubbling, is locked in frozen darkness and lies drearily spread out under the ice. He will write her name, and the date of their first meeting, in the ice with a sharp stone. The river is a likeness of his heart: it beats and swells under the hard frozen surface.
8. Rückblick (Retrospect) His feet are freezing as the soles of his boots are out: but he is eager to leave the town, and he stumbles over every stone. The crows knock the snow off the eaves onto his hat from every house he passes. But when he first came to that inconstant town, larks and nightingales sang at the windows, the lime-trees blossomed, the streams ran clear, and a pair of maiden’s eyes shone on him and stole his heart away. When he thinks of that happy day, he longs to walk back along the road to the house where she lives.
9. Irrlicht (Will o’ the wisp) The will-o’-the-wisp has led him astray from the road in the darkness: but he is always going off the road, for our joy and sorrow alike are merely sports to delude us. He follows a track down the crag side: all roads lead to their goal, every spring flows to the sea, and every sorrow leads to its grave.
10. Rast (Rest) He reaches a charcoal-burner’s hut and, worn out by his long trek through the snowstorm with a heavy backpack, he lies down to rest. In the quiet his cuts and bruises sting sorely.
11. Frühlingstraum (Dream of Springtime) He dreams he is wandering through meadows full of flowers and bird-song in May: he heard the cock’s crow and opened his eyes, but it was a raven calling in the cheerless darkness. Who could draw the flowers of ice he can see on the windows? He dreams again, of love, and a maiden’s kiss, and the joy and bliss of love, but again the crowing wakes him and he sits up alone. He tries to sleep again: when will the leaves at the window be green – when will he hold his beloved in his arms again?
12. Einsamkeit (Loneliness/Solitude) He wanders along the busy road ungreeted. Why is the sky so calm and the world so bright? Even in the tempest he was not so lonely as this.
13. Die Post (The Post) His heart leaps up as the post-horn sounds: they are not bringing him a letter, but it has come from the town, and he will ask if there is news of the beloved.
14. Der greise Kopf (The Grey Head) The frost in his hair made him think he was going grey, but now it has thawed and his hair is still black. He has heard that some people go grey overnight with sorrow, but though he has felt that sorrow, it has not happened to him.
15. Die Krähe (The Crow) A crow has followed him all along the way from the town. Is it waiting for him to die, so that it can eat him? It won’t be long, let it keep him company to the end.
16. Letzte Hoffnung (Last Hope) He wanders among the trees and fixes his gaze on one leaf, which seems to hold his fate. It is a token: if it should fall from the branch, his hope will fall. His heart sinks, and his soul weeps the loss of everything.
17. Im Dorfe (In the Village) People are asleep in the village and the dogs are barking. They dream of many things and have their rest. Let the dogs drive him away so that he does not rest with them – he is finished with all dreaming.
18. Der stürmische Morgen (The Stormy Morning) The tempest has driven the clouds about the sky, and the fiery sun darts between them. It is like his heart, a cold, wild winter.
19. Täuschung (Deception) A light on the dark and icy road at night, might be a warm place to stay, or the deception of a beautiful face.
20. Der Wegweiser (The Signpost) Straying restlessly away from the roads, he still seeks rest. There is always a signpost in front of him, pointing to the road from which no wanderer returns. Death?
21. Das Wirtshaus (The Inn) The ‘wayside inn’ is a lonely graveyard where he hopes to find rest at last. The wreaths are the tavern sign, inviting him in. But no – all the rooms are taken, and he must carry on, as he tells his faithful walking staff.
22. Mut (Courage) As the wind blows snow in his face, he sings loudly to silence his thoughts of sorrow, so that he cannot hear or feel them. With his trusty staff and cheerful song he’ll just keep going on.
23. Die Nebensonnen (The Phantom Suns) He used to see three suns, but two of them have turned away to shine upon another, and now he sees only one, and he wishes that would pass away and leave him to the darkness.
24. Der Leiermann (The Hurdy-Gurdy Man) At the end of the village he finds the old barefoot hurdy-gurdy man, winding away his tunes, but no one has given him a penny, or listens, and even the dogs growl at him. But he just carries on playing, and the poet thinks he will cast in his lot with him.
courtesy of Wikipedia
With nearly forty roles to his credit, baritone Jason Detwiler is becoming well-known for his magnetic and energizing stage performances. His voice and acting have been described as “emotionally fervid”, “richly expressive” and “commanding”, as he possesses a diverse repertoire ranging from the comedic Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) and Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) to the dramatic Germont (La Traviata) and Escamillo (Carmen). Among his most widely acclaimed roles are the title roles of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Eugene Onegin, as well as Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Zurga (Les Pechêurs de Perles), and John Proctor (The Crucible). His concert credits include: Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Dvorak’s Te Deum, Saint-Säens’ Christmas Oratorio, Mollicone’s Beatitude Mass, Ahabin Bernard Herrmann’s Moby Dick and Einhorn’s Voices of Light. He has become a local opera celebrity singing for Opera Idaho productions including La bohème, Faust, Amahl & The Night Visitors, La Cenerentola, Our Town, Madama Butterfly, Carousel, Oklahoma!, Falstaff and Hansel & Gretel.
The 2011-12 season was full of reprises and debuts as Jason returned to Opera Coeur d’Alene as Valentin (Faust), to Opera San Jose for his first Tonio in I Pagliacci, to Opera Idaho reprising Melchior (Amahl & the Night Visitors), to Stockton Opera for a double bill of I Pagliacci (Tonio) and Gianni Schicchi, to Ensemble Parallèle as St. Plan (Four Saints in Three Acts) and Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby), and to Opera Santa Barbara as Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). In his first European appearance, Jason sang the Ambassador in Michael Dellaira’s new opera The Secret Agent, co-produced with L’Opéra-théâtre d’Avignon in Avignon, France. He has recently returned to Seattle’s Sunset Club for a gala concert of The King and I.
Jason has performed nationally with San Diego Opera, Virginia Opera, Syracuse Opera, Sacramento Opera, Spokane Opera, Opéra Louisiane, Shreveport Opera, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Opera Coeur d’Alene, Rimrock Opera, Sonoma City Opera, West Bay Opera, Trinity Lyric Opera, Vallejo Symphony Orchestra, the American Philharmonic Sonoma County, the Idaho State-Civic Symphony, the Boise Philharmonic, the Boise Master Chorale, the Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo and the Auburn Symphony. From 2002-2006, he was part of Irene Dalis’ Opera San Jose as a Principal Resident Artist. While there, he sang Dandini (La Cenerentola), Falke (Die Fledermaus),Papageno, Valentin, Silvio (I Pagliacci), Escamillo, Marcello (La bohème), John Proctor, and the title roles of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Figaro among others. In 2009-2010, Jason became Opera Idaho’s first Artist-in-Residence, singing lead roles, giving concerts, and leading master classes for the Resident Company. Other major roles include: Yeletsky (Pikovaya Dama), Mr. Gobineau (The Medium), Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos), Mr. Webb in Ned Rorem’s Our Town, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), the title role in Vaughan Williams’ Pilgrim’s Progress, and Billy Bigelow (Carousel).
Return to top
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Lauren began her training at Ballet Idaho Academy and Westside Dance Academy in Portland, Oregon. She continued her formal studies at North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy. She is a 2003 alumnus of the School at Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Dance Program. She has most recently danced with the highly acclaimed Trey McIntyre Project and has been featured in several of McIntyre’s works including: Bad Winter, Oh! Inverted World, In Dreams, Blue Until June, Ma Maison and Shape. Her past professional experiences include: Hubbard Street 2, Ballet Idaho and Idaho Dance Theatre. Throughout her career she has had the privilege to perform the works of Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Angelin Perljicov, Robert Battle, Alex Ketley and Pina Bausch, among others.
As a choreographer, she has won numerous awards and has been commissioned by numerous companies and Universities throughout the nation. She was most recently selected as a finalist for Milwaukee Ballet’s 2013 Genesis International Choreographic Competition. She won the Grand Prize Award at McCallum Theatre’s 2012 Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival located in Palm Desert, CA. In February 2012, she won the Great Works Dance Choreography Prize, a National Choreography Competition affiliated with Western Michigan University. Her work, Foreground was chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center in May 2012 as part of the National College Dance Festival. She was selected to participate in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2011 and 2010 Seattle, affiliated with the Joyce Theatre, one of New York City’s major dance presenters. In 2009, she won the Northwest Dance Project’s first annual Pretty Creative’s International Choreographic Competition. She has recently been named Artist in Residence at Mystic Ballet (CT) and commissioned by Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (MI), Peck School of the Arts (WI), Polaris Dance Theatre (OR) Grand Valley State University (MI), Washington and Lee University (VA), Pacific University (OR), Palanza Dance (CA) and Houston Met Dance (TX) to create work for their upcoming seasons or serve as an Artist in Residence. In addition, her work has been featured at the American Dance Guild Festival (NY), Idaho Dance Theatre (ID) Conduit: Charged (OR), Ten Tiny Dances (WA), Aerial Without Limits (OR), Portland Youth Ballet (OR), Northwest Dance Project (OR), American College Dance Festival (MI), Regional Dance America (UT), DROP Dance Collective (ID) NW Fusion Dance Company (OR), Balance Dance Company (ID) and Coriolis Dance Collective (WA), to name a few. She received a 2012 Honoraria Fellowship from Idaho Commission on the Arts, acknowledging her achievements in choreography.
Return to top
Jason Sievers is a Boise based graphic designer and digital artist. His stop-motion animated music videos have been featured on numerous blogs, websites and the Independent Film Channel (IFC). In 2010 blogger and Current TV contributor Peter Grumbine declared, “Jason’s videos seamlessly compliment the music like coffee and cigarettes, fried steak and gravy, or what I imagine Jack and Coke was like back in the olden days when they called it Coke for a reason.”
In addition to his music videos Jason has created animated works for TRICA, The Idaho Lottery and The Trey McIntyre Project. As a self-taught animator, he loves sharing his passion for animation with local children through workshops at Boise Public Libraries, The Discovery Center and Boise Art Museum. As a graphic designer he’s collaborated with Northwest bands to produce art for CDs and LPs, posters and t-shirts. In 2007 The Boise City Department of Arts & History chose Jason for their Art in Transit program and his “art bus” spent the next four years rolling around town.
Jason works as an Associate Creative Director at Boise’s DaviesMoore where his design and copywriting have won numerous Idaho Advertising Federation Rockie Awards and a Northwest Silver Addy Award. In 2012 Jason directed a set of animated commercials for WinCo Foods that were honored with two bronze Telly Awards for the Northwest region. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from Boise State University.
Return to top
Originally from Des Moines Iowa, Jason Hartley began as a gymnast and a music lover. He received formal training in Ballet and Modern dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. In his 17 years as a professional dancer, Jason has danced leading roles with numerous companies including The Washington Ballet, Trey McIntyre Project, Ballet Met Columbus, and CityDance Ensemble. In 1995 Jason received the level 1 award from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, and in 1996 Jason received the Princess Grace Award for dance, and is the first recipient of the Chris Hellman award. Jason has over 13 years experience as a teacher and répétiteur for such companies as: Colorado Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Trey McIntyre Project, Harvard Ballet Company and Ballet Memphis. In 2002 Jason received a grant from the Kennedy Center to choreograph for the Millennium Stage. He has choreographed original works for the Washington Ballet, Dance Theater of Pennsylvania, Balance Dance Company, ARKA Ballet, and in Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s, ‘The Winters Tale.’ Jason has also performed his work for the Youth American Grand Prix and Dancers Responding to Aids galas.
Recently, Mr. Hartley co-founded Boise Dance Co-op and serves as Co-Producer, Choreographer and Company Dancer.
Return to top
Sayoko Knode was raised near Seattle, WA and received the majority of her classical ballet training from the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She earned a BFA and MFA in teaching and choreography from the University of Utah’s Department of Ballet. She is currently a company dancer with Idaho Dance Theater. Besides dancing, Sayoko also teaches ballet and works as a freelance choreographer. She has been awarded the Outstanding Choreographer Award for the 2010 YAGP competition in the San Francisco Region.
Return to top
Steven Crawford (Conductor), whose final season with the Metropolitan Opera included two performances of La bohème (of which one was his Sirius radio broadcast debut), is one of today’s most versatile opera conductors and vocal coaches. He has recently become involved as conductor and principal coach of the Land of Enchantment Opera Institute, continuing years of commitment to the training of talented young singers. Most recently, Steve was named Opera Idaho’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. He conducted Opera Idaho’s productions of Madama Butterfy, La bohème and Falstaff; and is involved in coaching with local singers.
What is The Winterreise Project?
JD – This project is a staged version of Franz Schubert’s 24-song cycle, Winterreise (Winter’s Journey), based on the German poetry of Willhelm Mueller. In what is normally done as a ‘stand and sing’ recital, we are incorporating the vivid and fluid elements of dance and video. Of course, I’ll be moving around as well!
LE – The premise of The Winterreise Project, is to bring dimension, life and a fresh interpretation to Schubert’s 24 Song Cycle, ordinarily performed by just a singer and pianist. This Project is a collaboration in the greatest sense of the word. Myself (choreographer), Jason Detwiler, Megan Richardson (costumes), Jason Sievers (film) and the dancers, have worked closely over the last eight weeks to create something poignant, unique and hauntingly moving.
Please tell me how The Winterreise Project came to be?
JD – Opera Idaho’s General Director, Mark Junkert came to me over a year ago, expressing his desire to see Schubert’s Winterreise performed here in Boise. He was not interested in it being an orthodox concert of singer and pianist, but a collaboration of artistic mediums serving to enhance Mueller’s intense poetry and the music itself. I was certainly thrilled to throw in my lot as I had not, up to that point, sung any song cycles. I love complex characters and moving stories, so his suggestion of it being semi- or fully staged completely sold me.
Is this an Opera?
JD – No, this is a song cycle, a collection of individual song-poems bound together by a single story or theme. Opera is a more broad and complete play set to orchestral music, classical singers, sets, costumes and the like, whereas a song cycle retains only an individual singer and usually a pianist to paint more concentrated, intensely personal short-stories or thoughts. In this latter genre, I like to say that the singer generally stays immobile at the far side of the piano, holding on for dear life!
What can the audience expect?
JD – Without being overly dramatic, it may be the only time in their lives they experience this kind of music done in such a way! To say there is something for everyone is often overused, but in this case very, very true: incredible imagery, imaginative dance, descriptive and emotional music and
LE- I believe Winterreise is an experience like no other. Expect to be surprised, fully engaged and moved. It is a rare opportunity to see dance, Opera and film all in one evening.
Will this be sung in English or German?
JD – This will be sung in its original German, but never fear, English supertitles are here! Just like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but without the fancy John Woo moves!
Jason, from the acting standpoint, are you more comfortable with comedies or tragedies?
JD – Aaaargh, I’m truly torn. My physicality makes comedies more easily accessible, and all lives need and necessitate laughter (especially my own!). The tragedies, however more difficult, shed light on the human heart and challenge a greater range of emotions than any funny-man with a bag of gags.
Lauren, from the acting/dancing/choreography standpoint, are you more comfortable with comedies or tragedies?
LE – As a dancer I enjoy performing both dramatic and less serious roles. However, as a choreographer I’ve found that the work I create is more often tragic than comedic. That served me well with this Project.
Jason, was working with a dancer/choreographer a new experience for you, and what was your experience working with choreographer Lauren Edson?
JD – Working with a choreographer was in one sense very new to me. Prior to working with Lauren, my only interactions with dance were the measured choreography of the occasional folk dance or waltz, with a few real dancers thrown in! Believe me, there’s a reason I’ve never aspired to Broadway!
Lauren and her visceral, seemingly abstract approach to her art have both challenged and enriched me. The end product of my characters have always been fairly planned, though stemming from initial thought and reaction. We, I believe, have complimented each other with our strengths, especially as we discovered our common ground, our common crossroad, was instinctual emotion.
Lauren, was working with an opera singer new experience for you, and what was your experience working with Opera Idaho’s Jason Detwiler?
LE – Collaborating with an opera singer was definitely a challenging new experience for me. Jason and I both brought unique interpretations of Winterreisse and worked closely to reach a common ground, in order to achieve cohesiveness among all elements. Because of each of our unique perspectives I believe we’ve created something rich and layered. There were definitely some compromises had on both sides throughout the process, but that is what a collaboration is all about. We greatly respect and admire each other’s work, which made the compromises easier.
And Jason, this is a very artistically rich production with not only a great visual artist doing the choreography, but also elements of film. Do you find that it might get distracting at some point, which the visuals could compete with the singing?
JD – I don’t think so. I hope that we’ve balanced things well enough, so that one does not pull focus from the other unless it is planned. That being said, every person that sees this will come with their own ‘artistic filter’, seeing and perceiving what they want. Some may be overwhelmingly drawn to the dance, the footage, the words above the stage, others to what the piano is saying or what I’m portraying. This is not dissimilar to opera, where many of these elements exist concurrently. Our job in The Winterreise Project is to integrate all these mediums in such a way as to leave you sensing a fluid story, not a poetic book of broken and abrupt chapters.
Lauren, same question, do you find that it might get distracting at some point, which the visuals could compete with the choreography?
LE – This was definitely something both Jason and I were aware of when we first asked Jason Sievers to create visuals to be projected behind the dancers. We wanted to use the projections to create a mood and atmosphere throughout each of the songs, yet not distract from everything else that was happening on stage. We’ve tried to use the images somewhat sparingly and choose a visual which doesn’t pull focus. The most difficult task for us is making sure that we are directing the audience’s focus and it’s not stimulus overload for everyone. I do believe the projections will add another wonderful layer to the overall performance.
Jason, what has been your favorite role thus far, and what role are you hoping to portray someday?
JD – Absolutely without question, the role of John Proctor in Robert Ward’s The Crucible (opera adaption of Arthur Miller’s play of the same) is my all-time favorite. Proctor is a man during the Salem Witch Trials who struggles to find his way back to God, to his wife, and to noble integrity. He does so at the cost of his life. In keeping with this, I would love to someday perform Rodrigo in Verdi’s Don Carlo. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for a friend”. In startling antithesis to self, Rodrigo does just that for his beloved friend, Don Carlo (who of course is a tenor!)